What do you LOVE doing?
Can you answer that question? Don't thing too long on it but think of what comes to mind first...
Raj asked me this when I was having yet another melt down about my career. After coming back from Turkey I’ve been a bit confused as to how we play out the next few months. Travelling looks near to impossible at the moment as the UK goes into further restrictions. So with the need to become financially stable again (and not eat into those savings!) I’ve turned to some soul searching and self discovery in order to find my purpose. I was hoping that this would have been part of our journey around the world but the the universe had other ideas.
I couldn’t answer the question. I could name some things I liked doing, things that made me happy, things I had always seen as interests or hobbies. But there was nothing I thought I truly LOVED or felt so passionate about that I could turn into a career. Spending time with my family and friends, hiking, writing.... are all things that I enjoy and come with a sense of ease. But I struggled, I think due to limiting beliefs, to see where I could take any of them in terms of a career. When I talk about limiting beliefs I'm referring to those ideas that if a job isn't well heard of or isn't considered to be a well respected job, then how could it possibly become a career and provide a form of long term stability. Or feeling unworthy or lacking in the skills to be able to turn those interests or hobbies into an actual career. Anyone else had similar thoughts before? These negative or limiting thoughts are all a perception and I'm trying to train my mind to be more open - let the negative weeds die while you water the positive flowers.
See I feel like a lot of these aspects of life are missing from our education in school. We are taught how to multiply and divide, but not how to manage finances. We are taught the anatomy of the human body but not the workings of the human mind. And here is where I think I personally struggled. We are never taught the art of finding what we truly love to do and how that can then be applied to our a career that doesn't sit in the traditional realms such as becoming an accountant or a doctor. So how then at the age of 16 or 18 are you expected to make your decision as to what subjects, degree or job to pursue. Personally I think these are invaluable life lessons that should be part of our education to help guide children at least along some essence of the right path to pursue areas that bring them not only financial stability, but also a sense of purpose, joy and fulfilment.
After much umming and ahhing and periods of silence Raj started to question me and challenge me around certain areas which have always had a presence in my life. For years I have had such a dedication and commitment to my health and well being and have always ensured I made time for it. I’ve previously written about my journey with weight and strength and how that has evolved for me and grown into something that comes quite naturally. And lately I’ve connected a lot more to my mental well being and started to add elements to develop this in my day to day life.
I have also often been encouraged to follow my interest in fashion which I find to be my creative outlet. I feel like this part of me has been so stagnated recently due to a number of factors. I also have such a perception of the fashion industry that has evolved after working both in retail and also through certain social media accounts. It’s created quite a negative connotation in my mind which is something that has held me back from taking this any further. So again in order to create a more open mind I have committed to working on my beliefs and interpretation of the industry to see where I could see myself fitting in or where I could create my own identity.
I went away with all of these thoughts and realised that one true value that I want to live by is developing self respect and love for myself in order to combat years of feeling low in confidence. And if I could live by this value and pass this empowerment on to people around me, well surely that is a true purpose to live by.
My advice for anyone going through something similar in life, whether its to do with your career or another aspect of your life, is to have conversations. Talk, brainstorm, journal. I don’t by any means have it figured out but I now know potential avenues and also what I really don’t want in my future. Don't just sit with the thoughts on your own. You never know how the input, advice, guidance or ideas from others could open up new doors for you.
For me at this moment I’m in a phase of self discovery… I'm learning all about myself. Who I am, what is important to me, where to invest my energy and where to conserve it. I've been defining my values, generating self awareness and clarity and focusing on my personal development. One way in which I am doing this is by committing to reading more. This week's book, which I actually read in about 2 days as I had so many ‘aha’ moments was Good Vibes Good Life by Vex King. And one of the quotes that really stood out to me was at the end of the book around pain and purpose:
'You came here loaded with potential, ability, gifts, wisdom, love and intelligence to share with the world. You are here to make the world a better place. You have a purpose and until you start living it you will have a void inside of you; a feeling you can't quite explain, but that knows that you are meant for more.' - Vex King
This year has been so challenging for everyone, but if this year hadn’t played out like it did I personally know I wouldn’t be going through this period of self discovery. It all happens for a reason. Embrace it, take time to learn, and find what you truly love to do because we all have a purpose.